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April 8, 2024

Echoes of history: Nzilani Stained Glass with Ariana Makau

Echoes of history: Nzilani Stained Glass with Ariana Makau

This week's episode features a insightful conversation with the trailblazing Ariana Makau. She shares her journey into the field of stained glass conservation and the challenges she faces as a Black woman in a predominantly white industry. She discusses the importance of honoring heritage and the founding of her own company, Nzilani Glass Conservation. Ariana also highlights the unique position of stained glass conservation in the preservation field and the need for proper health and safety practices.  She talks about so many things I never considered - like the importance of blood lead level testing, the responsibility of employers in preserving the health of their workers, and the safe preservation of stained glass windows. As she points out the main components of stained glass are lead and glass - so it was fascinating to learn more about safety protocol. 

Instagram Highlights: Ariana's stained glass work



Bio: Ariana Makau is the founder, principal conservator of Nzilani Glass Conservation, and current Interim Collections C.A.R.E. Director of Destination Crenshaw. She holds a MA in Stained Glass Conservation from the V&A/RCA, in London, England; and has been involved in preservation for 30 years. She has worked at numerous museums in the States and abroad including the V&A, the Met, SFMoMA and Getty Museum. Ariana has served on the Board of the Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA), is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), and a current board member of the Western Chapter of the Association of Preservation Technology (APT). Makau’s work is most fulfilling when at the intersection of equity, preservation and art.


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 After I got the position, they said, you were the only person who said,  I don't know, but this is how I would look about how to do it. Everyone else. Made up an answer and with conservation and preservation work, I think it's really important.  And I still do this in my life now because I don't know everything is say when you don't know and then go about finding out how you do know. 

Welcome to Tangible Remnants,  I'm Nakita Reed, and this is my show where I explore the interconnectedness of architecture, preservation, sustainability. Race and gender. I'm excited that you're here. So let's get into it.  Welcome back.  This week's episode features an insightful conversation with the trailblazing Ariana McCow.

She shares her journey into the field of stained glass conservation and the challenges she's faced as a black woman in a predominantly white industry.  She discusses the importance of honoring heritage and the founding of her own company. Zulani Glass Conservation.  She also highlights the unique position of stained glass conservation within the preservation field and the need for proper health and safety practices. 

We talk about so many things that I've never considered, like the importance of blood lead level testing and the responsibility of employers in preserving the health of their workers, as well as the safe preservation of stained glass,  because as she points out, the main components of stained glass are lead.

and glass.  So it's fascinating to learn so much more about safety protocol within this profession.  She's published a number of articles around the importance of safety within the stained glass and conservation fields. I'll be sure to link to those articles in the show notes.  And you may have an image of a generic stained glass window in your mind, but I promise you the detail and skill of the restoration work that Ariana does will blow you away.

So definitely head over to our Instagram page to see photos of some of the stained glass that she's worked on. And to provide you with a bit more context of who Ariana is, let me get into her bio.  So Ariana McCowell is the founder, principal conservator of Zulani Glass Conservation. And she's also the current interim collections CARE director at Destination Crenshaw. 

She holds an MA in stained glass conservation from the Victoria and Albert Royal College of Art, aka the BNARCA in London. And she's been involved in preservation for over 30 years.  She's worked at numerous museums in the United States. And abroad, including the VNA in London, the Met in New York, SFMOMA in San Francisco, and the Getty Museum in L.

A.  She served on the board of the Stained Glass Association of America. She's also a fellow in the American Institute of Conservation and a current board member of the Western chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology,  but she finds that her most fulfilling work is at the intersection of equity, preservation, and art. 

Oh, and a quick sidebar. For those of you like me who weren't familiar with the V& A or the Victoria and Albert Museum, just wanted to add some context that it is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4. 5 million objects.  The museum is named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, was founded in 1852,  and has since grown to cover 12.

5 acres with over 145 galleries. So yeah.  Ariana is a master at her craft and super inspiring. And I'm so excited to share this conversation with you. So without further ado, please enjoy a conversation between me and Arianna McCallum.  So I am excited that we are chatting and I'm also super excited that we met at APT.

I'm surprised that it took us as long as it did to connect because there's not that many black women in the preservation space, but it was so exciting to meet you. And so I'm glad to have you on, particularly knowing that your specialty is stained glass  So many other things. So I would love to hear about how you got into the profession and what was your journey. 

So  I've been doing this a long time, so I'm going to try to crunch 30-plus years of experience and preservation and a nice bite-sized bit. So in undergrad. School. I was a studio art major and my passion was painting and building things, always 3d stuff. And I did a study abroad program and I have been saying that I fell in love in Paris.

but not with a person, with a thing. I fell in love with stained glass. I just thought it was really amazing that it was both an art and a piece of architecture. And so it kind of scratched all my itches together. Right.  So I came back to the States and I graduated. And as I was looking out into the horizon of what do I do after, graduating, my thesis professor said, you know, there's this new program.

It's starting this year at the Getty Museum. You might want to check it out.  And they had different offerings. And one of them was an antiquities conservation. And I was like, cool. I've been to museums all my life. And that sounds interesting. And I interviewed and I got the job and was thrown into the Antiquities Conservation Department.

And I was like, this is amazing. I've never heard of conservation before I get to what I get to like touch the art that no one else gets to touch. I get to. research the history, get to do some science, get to work with my hands. This is, this is everything, but I really love stained glass. So  I researched where I could get a master's in stained glass conservation. 

I was way back in the day where you didn't get to go online. I went to the library and I pulled out these big thick books and. Yeah. Went through all of them and found that the only place in the world at that time was the Royal College of Art in conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum, and they took one student.

Every three years because they placed them within the museum, really working closely with the different departments within the museum. Wow. Was that also overseas? Yeah. So, yeah, so this was in London. Okay. Hands on. So, and the reason they took one student is because they really wove that student into working in that department.

So it was a three-year course. The degree was awarded through the Royal College of Art. Okay.  The hands-on work was within the museum and there were a couple blocks away from each other. So you sort of toggle back and forth between that.  So I applied. I got in and I was told 1 of the reasons and this always stuck with me even throughout the process. 

Working with other museums and then subsequently starting my own business.  When I went for the interview, they put this stained glass panel in front of me and they said, what can you tell me about it? And I described as much as I could. And they said, you know,  what year was it made? And I was like, I don't, I don't know.

And then they said, oh, well you, you can see here that there's a text that's handwritten, but you know, it was a replacement piece. And so.  You know, at least we've got this marker of it was made at least on or after this time. And then after I,  the position, they said, you were the only person who said.  I don't know, but this is how I would look about how to do it.

Everyone else made up an answer.  And with conservation and preservation work, I think it's really important.  And I still do this in my life now, because I don't know everything, is say when you don't know,  and then go about finding out how you do know.  And it's so much more important than making something up because you could go, you could go down this whole tangent of someone assuming you know something and someone's giving you responsibility to do something and then it gets messed up and then there's no accountability or then you're kind of backfilling saying like, Oh, well, I thought I knew this, but you know, you told me to do, you know, it's just so, I wish people would be clearer and feel comfortable.

With the unknown. I think that's really important. So we sort of totally went on this whole tangent. Um,  so anyway,  I got my degree. I came back to the States, I had a crest fellowship for a year at the Met in New York. So I got to work in another museum and it just coincided that they had it. Tiffany exhibition that year.

So I worked a lot on lots of Tiffany lamps, mosaics really got involved in their whole collection. And then because I'm Californian, after that fellowship ended, I came back to the West coast and found a stained glass company that I worked for for a few years,  but they didn't have a museum connection and I always kind of, you Stayed in touch with everybody and went out on my own 21 years ago,  last week. 

Wow. Congratulations. Started my own business. 21 years. Thank you. Yeah. She's legal.  My company is now legal. If she was a human. And then sometimes I do feel like it's my third child. So I started my company small Zalani Glass Conservation. Named it after my Kenyan grandmother.  And the reason for that is when I did receive my master's degree in stained glass conservation, my Kenyan father said, okay, you're ready for your name.

And I was like, what are you talking about? And he says, in his culture,  you're given one name when you're born and you're given another name by your parents when they decide that you have come into who you are. And it doesn't matter how old you are. It's when your parents decide you're kind of.  And he said I'm giving you my mother's name because this is your journey.

This is where you're set. And I've always felt that  I wasn't able to really articulate it at the time when I named my company Zilani Glass Conservation, but in hindsight, it was a way of honoring my grandmother and elevating the fact that, you know, There are lots of people in this pool of preservation work, and it's not always a cookie cutter type of person who does this work and by having that be a prompt for people to ask me,  what is the name?

Why did you decide on this name? It's a way to elevate.  People who may not are, are, may not considered being part of this vast group of people, um, who do preservation.  So, for the first couple of years, it was just me, and then as projects got bigger and people got to know about us, and it wasn't just me fixing and conserving piece pieces within museums.

 But we. Could go on site and take out the windows and work on them in the studio and put them back in. We've worked on larger projects and now we're known for working on monumental. Historic buildings, mainly churches, but also working for. On government buildings, which is sometimes disappointing because we also want to work and people will say, oh, I don't want to call you because I thought you were too big. 

Projects are always unique and, and you never know. And we also, we work with a lot of private collectors. I think that the foundation of working at the Met has been, has served me in so many different ways, but we have one collector who has a lot of Tiffany lamps. And so that was a great foundation for these other lamps that we've worked on for them. 

And they're kind of in their own category. They're super intricate and challenging, but also really, really fun to work on.  I know we were chatting a little bit before we started recording about how sometimes there's this a little bit of, a gray area between how you're perceived and the field. So could you talk a little bit more about particularly stained glass and being kind of the preservation oddball?

Yeah. Yeah. Well, let's, I mean, let's even take out being a woman owner and a Black woman owner,  stained glass preservation and conservation falls into this chasm of,  you know, you go into a museum setting and people see you because, because we do it all, right? We remove, conserve, and reinstall. They see us as construction folks and you go onto a construction site and they're like, Oh, you're a fancy conservator.

You don't understand. What happens  80 feet up.  You know, on a job site, I'm like, actually, I do both. Yes. Uh, and so it's really been a challenge for me coming from originally being in a museum background and being introduced to health and safety and especially meticulous documentation. When I started off my business, I was just one person.

So I could kind of still drive what, what I wanted to do. And if it took me, you know, 10 hours to write out a report, it was fine. But as I started to expand and have employees and definitely want to invest in those folks,  and their experience, but also pay them accordingly for the work that they're doing.

It's been a real challenge because we kind of fall into this weird space where what we do is extremely labor intensive, but on paper, if we're going to fall into a category, we fall into glazers and big old respect to people who are union glazers. We are not union glazers. We don't install big sheets of glass into spaces. 

So when you're looking for an understanding or a line item and you're working with preservation architects, there's, there's a bit of a crossover and understanding, but when you're working with the general public, they understand when they're working with a contractor or a subcontractor, you get a price.

And then when you start working on something, sometimes there's a change order because there's this weird nuance of like what you can see on site when you get it in your shop, things happen.  that constitutes asking for a change order. That's fine. People may roll their eyes, but they're used to that. But you come in as a stained glass. 

And you go through the same steps and they're like,  why, first of all, why are you asking for so much on the get-go? And second of all, if there's a change order, well, you're an artist, you should quote suffer for your art. I'm like, hold on. No, I shouldn't. I should be monetarily compensated for the time and the expertise and the experience that I have that no one else can bring to this job.

But me. Or artsy. Exactly. And, and, and it's a huge, huge struggle. And I think sometimes when people say, well, there aren't any. You know, that this is a dying field or it's really hard to find young folks to come into the preservation field, long term, we have to think about that, right? Because the people who work for Zilani are exceptional artists, they have to have an artist mind, but they also have to have the ability to measure correctly within the field.

Sometimes a 32nd of an inch. They have to be comfortable on scaffolding. They have to adhere to our health and safety standards. They have to be able to communicate with other contractors and subcontractors and general contractors, and they have to be able to write up the work that they're doing too.

And I think the more education is out there for folks to know about this profession,  both going into it, but also what it takes to go into this profession.  That's where the longevity is going to be because I have had the privilege of having some exceptional people work within my company. And  I can't tell you how many times I've had.

A tearful conversation on both sides where people say, I love this work. I love what you do. I love the health and safety standards that you do. And the, the general level of professionalism that you have. But living where we live, it is not sustainable. For me to continue working here, and I say,  I agree with you 100 percent and. 

It's, it's ridiculous that we have to do that, that we have to, like, I will not compromise on health and safety. And we can go into this a little bit deeper because I think it's a big differentiator for what we do. But in general, people who do our work, you think about, you know, gentrification on many levels, but, you know, artists and folks going into a quote-unquote, bad area and making it better and cool and hip. 

And then everyone thinks it's awesome. And then everyone moves in and then those artists can't live in that space anymore. I really feel like that's sort of the personal equivalent to what we do.  Yeah. And so just to, just to pause for a second and pull back for listeners. So when we're talking about stained glass, imagine all of the beautiful churches that you've seen that have all of the very colorful glass stained glass windows on there.

And so knowing that you are a company that is able to document the stained glass in place, take it out, understand what needs to be repaired, repair it, do all of the work to make it beautiful and structurally sound again, and reinstall it back in that space.  And the fact that you're kind of being asked to do it at, you know, very reduced rates because of where you fall and kind of this not quite well-defined space is something that I think is super fascinating.

And then also knowing that there is such a trades issue with, in terms of younger people coming into the profession, learning how to get into the space and particularly the stained glass niche. I'm so glad that you are. doing the work that you're doing and creating the space and talking about it. And I know when we first met, we also had a good conversation about the health and safety and PPE, particularly because a lot of the chemicals and things that you're working with can be very toxic.

So I would love for you to dig into that a little bit more to share with the listeners why that's such a passion for you.  Yeah. So  The main components of stained glass are glass and lead, lead came. So the metal that you see holding those different colors of glass is lead. And one of the first questions we get is, Oh, it's been around for almost a thousand years.

Isn't there, can you replace it with something else? And my answer is,  No,  because it's, it's an amazing material and the reason it's been around for so long is that it is amazing. It's super malleable. You can carve it down artistically. It's really, really nice to work with. You can use it with organic shapes.

But that said, the more that we've gotten to know about how lead interacts with the body, the more we want to be safe.  And the, the frustration that I get and What I think has happened is as there's been more awareness of lead, and I think of, you know, I, many people now know about, you know, high lead levels and water or lead and lead-based paint. 

So, there's an awareness of that, but they don't think about it. And within the context of stained glass is that everyone workers based on what we talked about previously is that when people are working on it, we're already at a disadvantage with compensation. So when you have to think about health and safety and PPE, personal protective equipment, right?

Well, if I applied that too, it's going to be too much to sustain my business long-term. And  What we do at Zilani is say, either we do it or we're going to pass on a job,  which has put us at a disadvantage in some respects. And it's also put us at an advantage and other respects, especially when we're working on larger projects where there are requirements, like.

Everyone has to be lead worker certified or sometimes the, this will get a little technical, but I'm sure everyone can follow us that around the, the border of the windows.  Those are sealed with different materials, and sometimes that sealant also has asbestos in it. So, historically, what people have done is hired an outside firm.

That is lead worker or asbestos worker certified. To remove all that material or sometimes even remove the windows and when you're working with those firms or those companies in general, they are tasked with and the through line for that is.  You abate it, meaning you get rid of it. So they're not thinking about it as something that you want to preserve. 

So you get these windows where. Glasses smashed because usually, you're just like, get rid of it as fast as possible. So with us. Training our folks to be lead worker and asbestos worker certified, we now can go into those spaces and either work alongside folks and inform them. You want to, you know, remove it this way, use this tool.

So you're not going to damage the artwork, which.  Long term is actually going to save money for the client because we don't have to replicate it with new materials or refabricating it. Or on smaller projects,  we can take care of it cradle to grave. So again, you're not bringing in another, another person.

But what that also means is that our baseline for bidding jobs is higher.  And it also means in order to make sure that my company is financially stable,  I may end up paying my employees less of an hourly rate,  but they're safer,  right? So if you're, if you're there for the bottom line and you don't care about your, your employees, Health and safety, or you don't know about all of the exposure levels because people are trying to tamp it down because it's just too much.

Then someone might get paid a higher hourly rate, but they're not provided with disposable gloves. They're not provided with. A full and full and half face mask with cartridges. So they're not inhaling that lead dust. They're not provided with a full Tyvek suit whenever they go into an exposed area with removal.

They're not most importantly, I would say they're not informed. They're not provided with their own information and training about how to make themselves safe within this environment. And.  I've had people pull me aside numerous times and conference and stained glass conferences, specifically saying, thank you so much for bringing this to the attention of the profession, because I don't feel comfortable asking my boss for this, but I know it's bad. 

I'm happy to do that. I know I have the privilege of having my own business, so I can be outspoken and I can't fire myself.  But it shouldn't just be me. And I feel like now people are starting to hear about it a little bit more. And one of the other things we do, uh, is we test people's, because again, it shouldn't be me.

It's not Ariana really telling people it's, it's empirical data telling you. So we test people's blood level, blood lead level, the very first day that they start work with me. We pay them to go get their blood tests. Then every six months we check the team. And then the very last day that they're with us, we check it again.

So we were bookended and what people in the stained glass or preservation architecture industry may not know is that legally anyone who hires another person to work in a lead-exposed area is responsible for their medical records for 30 years. after the last day that they worked for them. Wow.  Yeah.

Just let that settle in. 30 years. That blows my mind. Yeah. So like responsible, like medical bills or workers comp or things like that, or like responsible how? No, no, sorry. Yeah. So yeah, let me, let me expand that a little bit. So you're responsible for proving that you, to the best of your ability and what the regulations were at the time that When this person was in your employee, got you to make sure that you can document that you took care of them.

So if 10, 15,  30 years down the line, well, 29 years down the line, they come up with something that is tangentially can be proven that it was prompted by lead exposure.  You are covered to say, I did what I was supposed to do.  That's super important. Yeah. So you can't just say like, here's a, here's a photo of Ariana in,  you know, an apron and whatever in 2010 and you know, we're good.

But by keeping those records, I can say,  here's a photo of Ariana and here's a copy of Ariana's medical records. And I know I also am really passionate about making sure we're not being invasive in people's Medical history, but it's I think it's helpful for everyone and we've had examples of people who on paper look really great.

They're doing other artistic things and they, they get their lead level tested at the beginning and it's, it's high. And I say, well, that's not because of working with us. It's because of other things.  Let's, let's do a think about this. I'm not accusing you, but like, you know, what other things are you working with?

And we found that you know, there was 1 person who was sanding the side of a garage without a respirator. There's another person who was cutting tiles and the glaze on the tile had lead in it. So then they started. taking different precautions. So it's not even, I love the fact that this can help inform people's lifestyle, not just the time that they're working within the company.

And then they're also disseminating that information to their family and friends and community. Right. Right. Cause like lead exposure is something that is, can be very dangerous as many of us know, but I think oftentimes because it doesn't have such a visible. reaction. You don't often get a rash or anything like that.

It's sometimes ignored, but like it affects the brain. It affects how we respond to things. Like it affects a lot of our health and the way that our body functions. And so I'm just, I'm really glad to hear that you're taking those precautions, educating your staff. And I'm hopeful that any listeners who may be working in some construction fields or anything like that will also be mindful and be learning about this as well, because it makes a difference.

And even just thinking of the number of. Lead exposure in children in Baltimore. I know at one point in time, it was incredibly high to the point where it became such a problem that if lead paint was found on historic windows, the local historic agency was like, take the windows out. Like we were going to protect humans over the historic fabric because lead exposure is such a problem and all that sort of thing.

Right. So I'm glad that you're focusing on it. Yeah. And I think trailing in on that. The other thing is.  I am in no way saying take out the stained glass windows or take out these windows, but like,  If, you know, with information,  that also means you can preserve these windows, right? Because if we have, we've done tests of like all the different steps it takes to preserve a window.

And once those windows are out and they're within our studio, we also sort of hearkening back to thinking about our greater community and not just our workers, we dismantle the windows underwater. And that means that it's the dust isn't volatile. And then it goes through a pretty.  Multi-faceted filtration system.

So when the effluent water, the water going back into down the drain, which in our case, in West Oakland goes straight into the bay.  We're not adding lead to the water, right? We're part of the solution, not part of the problem. And so thinking about it within that context, and also thinking of our, you know, we work on large job sites.

So like you said, we might be working next to a stone masonry company or, you know, a plumbing company. And.  We're keeping records, but we don't want to get them exposed either, right? So thinking about who you're working with in space is, is definitely a mindful thing for, for historic preservation. So recently we were working for this church that had their windows completely rebuilt.

About 15 years ago, and I know this because they asked us if we wanted to do it and I was like, I'm making my first child. I cannot start this job and, but it was on my radar. Right? And so things have changed. We're now 15 years later and. they just wanted to do an assessment and do water testing on the windows.

And I was like, great, where's your documentation? They, it's really hard for them to find their documentation. So I said, well, I'll go and do a visual. And this church also has issues with leaking where it could be the masonry. It could be the mortar. It could be other the roof. So all these different trades are working on their different sections.

So I went and I looked at the windows.  And I looked at the sealant around the border, and then I gave them a really quick report. And I said, this isn't our traditional report where it's 50 pages long and we're documenting every single window. But this is an overview. And I said,  so the good news is the sealant is great.

It's in really good condition.  And the windows look relatively good. They're stable,  but what isn't great is how all those different components are talking to each other because the ceiling is good, but it's constricted a little bit. And so now it's instead of being flat on the cell, it's curved in a little bit.

So it's going to hold water. And the other thing is that it's so the material is so strong that it is constricting. It's pulling the lead off of the border of the glass and then it's The putty within the lead is sticking to the glass. So it's creating this chasm. So if you're just looking at the sealant in isolation, it's fine, but the sealant is also pulling the mortar away from the masonry. 

And if you want to do a water test on the windows, Don't do it now, deal with the masonry, deal with the mortar, deal with the sealant. So check, check, check, you know, those things are good and then go back and check the windows because if you do it now, you're not going to know what's failing. So that's one thing that really excites me is sharing that,  again, that interconnectionality  of everything.

And what I got from the GC and the other subs was, Oh, we never thought about looking at it holistically. We were just in our tunnel vision looking at our own work and they're amazing, amazing craftspeople.  One of the things I really like and what I was thinking about, Oh, this would be great to do a,  a tour of looking at places is with my decades, years of experience is I know windows like the back of my hand, but I also know enough to know what I do.

Don't know, but I do know what to question, right? So looking at literally the interface of windows to the framework, to the roof. And you know, one of the things I say is windows are first, first out, last in when you're thinking about an overarching preservation project, because if we take your windows out and put them in, and then you're redoing a wall or you're doing the roof and a piece of slate falls through the window, then you have to have that redone and it's. 

a bad investment. So you have to think about everything altogether.  I should also mention that you were talking about all that, the health implications of having high lead levels.  Again, going back to equity and inclusion, when we started doing our lead worker courses, the, one of the, the test questions was like, high lead levels are bad for what?

And it had workers. Pregnant women, kids,  none of the above.  And for five years, we have a, we have a really delightful tutor that we are training trainer who we request working with because he actually likes having discourse rather than like droning on and not having the students engage. And I was like, you know what?

You just did. Three days of education with us where you were talking about how it affects your internal organs, how it affects like you're saying, cognition, how it affects sperm count. Why don't we say it affects everybody? Because the normal assumption was that anyone who was working in construction was male.

So you don't want to quote, bring home your dirty work to your girlfriend or your. or your wife. That was the only category, not bringing it home to your loved one, to your roommate, to your pet.  Right. And so I was like, let's be a little bit more expansive here. And also, so we just, and we also have lead refreshers every year.

So we just did that recently and they changed the text. It was like lead can affect.  Anybody and I'm like, yes, you can't really hear me, but I'm like clicking in the background hands in the air and it was really arduous. Right? So thinking about who, who has ownership of health.  and who's actually doing the work.

Those are huge.  You know, those are my little hills I'm going to die on because I think until we start thinking larger as to who's doing the work and who's at the job site,  things are just going to continue to be the same.  Right. And it's really frustrating to me.  Yeah. And one of the things that I also know of being in the profession, being an architect and just knowing that sometimes construction workers. 

in particular, don't like to change the way that their means and methods for how they've been doing something. It's like, Oh, we've been doing it this way for 20 years. I was trained by so and so who did it this way. And so I'm just thinking back to the fact that you're helping to provide education because I can imagine how many construction workers are trained by someone who's like, Oh, don't worry about the lead.

It's not that problem. Touch this. Don't wear gloves. You don't want to, you don't want to come across as too soft. So Don't Don't wear the mask. Don't do that. So it's kind of like there's all of these misconceptions about how to do the work that really impact someone's health and if they don't know about it because the person who they were training under didn't tell them, they didn't think about it, didn't care about it, that sort of thing.

It's not macho enough. You know, there's so many different reasons why people do things they do. So I'm just, I'm really grateful that you're sharing more of that information.  Yeah. Yeah. I think it's, you know, touch to touch on the point. I don't think it's. Macho or strong or, you know, attractive, whatever gender you are to share that you, you don't take care of your health. 

I think it's super attractive to, to say like you are taking care of yourself so you can do your job better and longer and in a better.  And you're, you know, you're thoughtful of your, your coworkers. And I, I  I've even seen that within  my own journey, being a business owner, that the folks that I employ now  are.

regardless of what their gender are, they're very interested in thinking about their health and, and how that affects the people with whom they interact and, and the folks that they, they live with. So, you know, when it was within the category of like, Oh, take care of that person because they're a parent only and everyone else is okay to,  You know, to, to just be covered in, in dust and, and just tromp around everywhere.

Like that, that's not,  that's not the new, you know, the new attractive person is someone who takes care of themselves and others. Yeah, I agree. And that reminds me of, there's some meme I've seen where it's like, Oh, you know, she's someone's mother, someone's daughter, someone's whatever. And it's like, listen, all these things that, you know, of who a woman could be.

I saw someone edit it and just kind of cross out all the other things except for she's someone. Yeah. That's why it matters to protect her because she's someone like, not because she matters because she, yeah. So she is. Yeah. I'm glad that they changed that one. Yeah.  Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Well, this has been amazing.

It's, I can't believe time it's flown by this much. So, um, anything we want to touch on as we were wrapping up?  Oh my goodness. I know. Right. I want another three hours. That's what I want.  That's what I want to touch on. Yeah. Yeah. So.  I think, you know, we were, we were sort of talking about this at the,  the beginning and, and again, another thing that is really important to me is getting more folks who don't normally have access to preservation and the preservation experience into, into that realm.

Mm-Hmm. And I think part of that is everything that we've been talking about, the self-value, right? So.  Within the context of people doing work within the preservation field, I really want to start collaborating more and having people envision within preservation architecture, it's a collaboration and less of a hierarchy.

So, when I'm going,  hearing people do presentations about a preservation job, and they say, we did this,  who really did it?  Right. Right?  Let's call out who did this. You can say, you know, we worked on a project where this company or these folks did this where I like call out their name and say what they did.

So there it's less of a, you know, I have this vision of what we needed to do. And then I had these minions who went off and did that. Like, I think. Yeah. Elevating who those people are again,  introduces those different professions to people in the room who may not have thought about that.  I think thinking about,  I heard someone recently talk about how.

Where I live in Oakland, like Oakland has amazing historical architecture and a lot of it has been preserved because of poverty. So they're like, there's preservation through poverty because people didn't have funds to change over or redo buildings multiple times,  but they have this beautiful building and, it's been in our family for, you know, three, four generations. 

Let's.  Change the vision of that as being an asset. That's unfortunate. That is more, well, actually it's more than unfortunate. That's despicable to me. How about we give these people access to preservation understanding and also capital, maybe not directly, but like grant funding or find organizations or find,  train folks within that area.

Area to take care of their own buildings, because it's not because they don't want to take care of their buildings.  It's because there hasn't been a support system. To do that,  and that's a way of taking care of those buildings because I think preservation is both a physical thing. And it's also a verbal historical thing.

And if you bifurcate.  Those 2 things, because someone hits a level of poverty where they, they sell their building because that's more worth to them to go move somewhere else because they want to support their family.  You lose that history, you lose that has multi-generational history. So if you can preserve their story by them, preserving their buildings, so they can stay there. 

Right? That's exponentially more valuable,  which I'm sure is a whole other. Conversation, but I would love, right, but I would love, I would love for that to be the, you know, the, the takeaway of thinking about a broader sense of what, what is preservation. It's not just,  it's not just the building is preserving.

What has happened in that building,  the echoes of history within that building are extremely valuable to what the building is now and what the building will be in the future. Exactly. And it's like the story of what happened or why that building came to be is what makes it historic. What makes it more important than just the found object itself.

It's kind of, you're right. It's the both. And yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And also thinking about the people who are.  Working on it. If you are working on a building that is in your neighborhood and you have the skill set that you are sharing within that building, but also sharing that within the community,  that's its own sense of preservation.

That's like a ripple effect, right? So you're seeing someone who maybe. didn't really understand what their calling was or didn't know what their calling was. And they're like, wait, I can work with my hands and, and work on,  you know,  old man, I'll use my own name. I like old woman McHow's house that, you know, she, she watched over me when, when I was a little kid and now she's moving a little bit slower, but I can go take care of her.

Home,  then I, and my sisters are helping, we're probably going to hear from an old woman Macau back in the day. I did blah, blah, blah. Right? And so that again, is that's this, this multi-leveled bit of preservation. And it's also showing, you know, other people in the community that that's something that they can do.

So you start,  it's not always hands-on work. It's also, you know, What's being displayed in a community that, that doesn't happen immediately, but maybe five, 10, 15 years out is it's going to change what's happening in this space.  Thank you so much for listening. Links to amazing resources can be found in the episode's show notes. 

Special thanks to Sarah Gillberg for allowing me to use snippets of her song Fireflies from her debut album, Other People's Secrets, which by the way is available wherever music is sold.  If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to the show.  And now that Tangible Remnants is part of the Gable Media Network, you can listen and subscribe.

through all network partner content at gablemedia. com. That's G A B L media. com.  Until next time, remember that historic preservation is a present conversation with our past about our future. We don't inherit the earth from our parents, but we borrow it from our children. So let's make sure we're telling our inclusive history. 

I saw the first fireflies of summer and  right then  I thought of you  Oh I could see us catching them and setting them free  Honey that's what you do That's what you do to me